How To: Reverse Applique

I’ve wanted to try reverse applique for quite a long time. I’ve also been looking for ways to use my ice dyed stash. Here is my tutorial on this fun and easy technique.


  • Three pieces of fabric: top, one that will show, and backing
  • batting
  • fusible web
  • fabric marking pen
  • scissors
  • iron
  • sewing machine with your favorite color thread
  • Design to trace

Let’s get started. Iron fusible web to the back of the front piece.

Now to one of the fun parts. I drew a Monstera leaf on cardstock, cut it out, and then traced it on the fabric. However, you could draw anything on this top piece.

I used a chalk pen to trace the shape onto the top fabric. Just be sure whatever pen you are using can be erased.

This is how it looks after I was finished tracing.

Now make the fabric sandwich before you take it to the sewing machine. Be sure to remove the fusible paper backing on this top piece.

Layer in this order: background fabric, batting, fabric that will show through, and your top fabric. Do NOT iron the top and second fabric together.

Machine baste the layers together. You could pin or clip them instead.

Now you’re ready to stitch on your lines of your image. You could use your free motion foot. Use either a contrasting thread or one that matches the background. I tried both ways, and really liked both of them!

Here is how it looks when it’s done.

This is where the magic begins. I start with a seam riper and carefully put a hole in just the top layer inside the design. Then start cutting.

Once it all cut out, clean off your marking lines, and then press.

Now you can continue to quilt around the image or even inside the image. Square up your piece and finish as you desire.

Reverse applique is so easy and I love the results. I thought this was a perfect use of my ice dyed fabrics. However, it’s a great way to showcase any of your favorite fabrics.

Talking about ice dyeing, my Icy Delights online class has been open a year now! Almost 200 students have taken the class producing absolutely stunning fabric, clothing, purses, and more. The Facebook group has been quiet for the past couple months, but with the weather warming I’m looking forward to seeing many more pieces.

Judy Sall, a wonderful fabric dyer and also known as “Tie dye Judy”, is  a student of the class and she recently wrote a blog post about ice dyeing on the “Fire” blog. You can check it out HERE. If you aren’t familiar with that blog, it’s a great group of fabric artists who share their knowledge every month. I am proud to say I was a part of that group for a couple years, but left due to other commitments.

If you’d like to know more about Icy Delights: Dyeing Fabric With Ice, check out my promo video. I’d love for you to join us.

It has finally quit raining, at least for a day or two, so I plan to get out and get some gardening done before the heat hits. Have a great week!